Branch Meeting and AGM, Tuesday 27 January 2015

19th January, 2015


6.00 om Tuesday 27 January 2015, Headland House, 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP


This month’s branch meeting will afford members an opportunity to discuss the present state of our industry and how to survive in it.

2014 saw brutal redundancies across our industry, particularly for staff photographers. At the same time we applauded the NUJ for providing courses in freelancing for recently sacked photographers. Also one NUJ branch led the way when its reporters flatly refused to do work previously carried out by the likes of us. What 2015 holds for us remains to be seen.

This meeting will help equip our members to survive in a rapidly changing workplace. Our panel of experts will be responding to your questions rather making speeches, to allow for the maximum amount of time for discussion.  Stuart Freedman is a an award winning freelancer whom has worked all over the world and will soon be publishing a new book.  Antonio Olmos works on contract with the Guardian newspaper, also teaches and his Landscape of Murder project has been celebrated far & wide.  David Hoffman has perfected the art of running a successful picture library and getting the most from his stock.



Prior to the discussion we will be holding our Annual General Meeting, at which we will be electing a new committee – the people who will help organise branch activities over the next year.

New nominees are urgently needed. It’s a great way to contribute towards the running of the branch and its campaigning work, and to keep up to speed with the issues facing London’s lens journalists and the wider world of photojournalism.

There are eight posts to be filled: Chair, Vice-chair, Secretary, Membership Secretary, Treasurer, Welfare Officer, Equality Officer, and Union Learning Representative. The job titles are self-explanatory, but if you are thinking of standing and would like to know more, please contact one of the current committee members, either via the branch website or the branch Facebook page.

None of the responsibilities specific to each post involve a huge time commitment, and much of the committee’s business is discussed and decided collectively at the monthly meeting, or via email. Positions can be job-shared between individuals, and new-comers are warmly welcomed. No previous experience is necessary – there will be people available to help you. We pride ourselves in coming from a wide range of work and political backgrounds to ensure that all members feel represented.

Any full branch member can be nominated for a post. In addition, we have customarily also elected two, three or four additional members to offer general support. Temporary and Student members cannot hold a formal position, but in the past have been co-opted onto the committee in a non-portfolio role. Any branch member can come to the AGM without prior notice and ask to be nominated.

We will also be electing two auditors to check the branch accounts at the end of the financial year.

Over the five years of its existence, the London Photographers Branch has made a significant impact both within and beyond the union. A strong and active committee is essential if we are to continue to build on our successes.


24th January, 2015

Here’s a brief report on what the Photographers’ Council has got up to this year. Our most important achievement has been to establish an authoritative voice for photographers throughout the union. This was – we were – crucial in getting rid of that one day course for reporters on taking “professional” (!!) pictures with their iPhones, before too many photographers had left the NUJ. This has now been replaced with, would you believe, a similar course teaching “ how to record audio and how to shoot video using your smartphone “, again, in one day! So it’s a good thing the last Council meeting agreed a survey to go out to all photographers ( and videographers, not that they’ll need it ) to find out what kind of training courses in professional – repeat, truly professional – videography they would like.

“Replacing professional photographers with “citizen” journalists, not to mention reporters and their iPhones, has unfortunately been the story of the year. Starting with Johnston Press and Local World, paper after local paper has made its staff photographers redundant. So the Council initiated training courses for staff photographers turning freelance. Which would not have been possible without the help of Freelance Organiser John Toner.

Two have been held so far, and I’m afraid we may well need repeats in the near future. We also initiated the recent NUJ counter blast to the Wellers’ as yet unsuccessful attempt to get photos of children if not banned outright then pixelated ( they keep moving their goal posts ).

And, Council members have now started a blog, first an opinion piece here, and a report from LPB’s John Rogers here.

The best is yet to come – we’re organising a conference for this October. All thoughts and suggestions welcome, to Council member for London Carole Edrich ( ).

Finally, the Council owes its thanks to our servicing officer Dominic Bascombe, and also to Simon Chapman and Pete Jenkins who jointly hold the NEC seat for Photographers, and fight our corner at every meeting.

Andrew Wiard -    

Chair, NUJ Photographers’ Council

(LPB members can read other reports prepared for the AGM on 27 January by logging in and going to the Members area of the website.  If you are not registered you can do so by emailing

Legal Action over Police Surveillance of Journalists

21st December, 2014

Police film me during a Media Workers Against The War demonstration

photo © David Hoffman          

Six NUJ members are at the centre of a landmark legal case, which is shining a light on the levels of surveillance employed by the state on journalists.

Comedian and broadcaster Mark Thomas, London Freelance Branch Member Adrian Arbib, and London Photographers Branch members Jules Mattsson, David Hoffman, Jess Hurd and Jason Parkinson have launched a legal action on unnecessary intrusion into their private lives.

The action being brought against the Metropolitan Police with the support of the NUJ is a Judicial Review, not aimed at obtaining compensation but intended to show that it is an unlawful practice, which undermines the freedom of the press. The journalists hope to reveal the extent of the surveillance, the reasons behind it and information as to whom it has been shared with.

The first stage to discover what information is held on them on police databases has yielded results that veer from surprising to disturbing. Although the bulk of the records have still not been disclosed, the small fragments so far revealed contain ludicrous detail about their clothing and demeanour. Even relatives’ medical records and sinister observations about one plaintiff’s sexuality have been found on these secret databases.

There is no suggestion that those involved are known to the police for any criminal activity, leading to questions about the reason for holding so much information and its implications for civil liberties. The official purpose of the database in question is to monitor domestic extremists who pose a clear threat to public safety. It appears to have been expanded to document journalists who have covered protest and dissent as part of their professional work.

Through solicitors Bhatt Murphy, instructed by the NUJ, the six journalists will ask the court to instruct the Metropolitan Police to reveal the full extent of the surveillance, what has been done with the data, with whom it has been shared, and then for it to be destroyed.

The legal action is currently on hold while the police appeal a previous court ruling that their surveillance of peace activist and water colourist John Catt was unlawful. Judgement on the police appeal is expected early next year.

The present case being brought by the six members is not the first time that the police have been scrutinised over this and similar issues. Back in 2008-10 NUJ members called the police to account for unwarranted surveillance and harassment. Two films were made about the issue and can be viewed here and here. In the light of recent events a third film is now in production. The London Photographers Branch agreed to help fund it at our November branch meeting and encourages other NUJ and Trade Union branches to do the same.







No Branch Meeting in December

7th December, 2014




Instead we are holding two Christmas parties in conjunction with other branches.   For the party on 8 December the branch is organising a slide show of members’ work from 2014. Send up to 6 of your favourite images, or up to 2 minutes of video, to Matt Aslett (  Images should be 1000 pixels on the longest size and watermarked with © yourname.



November Branch Meeting: Reporting Dissent

20th November, 2014

EDL East London march 7-9-13

6.00pm Tuesday 25 November, Headland House, 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP

Another topical discussion given recent events on the streets of London. NUJ Freelance Organiser John Toner will outline some of the strategies employed by the NUJ over the past few years to ensure the safety and correct treatment of accredited news gatherers. Meanwhile Guy Smallman will offer a few tips for keeping safe and acting within the NUJ’s recommended framework for public order situations. Drinks & nibbles as always followed by a detour across the road to the Lucas Arms.

Two Parties and a Slide Show!

17th November, 2014

The LPB and the London Freelance Branch are holding a joint Christmas party:

7.00pm Monday, 08 December

Headland House (5th floor)

308/312 Gray’s Inn Rd, WC1X 8DP

For this party the branch has agreed to organise a slide show of members’ work from 2014. Send up to 3 of your favourite images, or up to 2 minutes of video, to Matt Aslett ( by 25 November.


We are also holding a joint party with London Central Branch:

6.30 pm Thursday, 11 December

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

145 Fleet Street EC4A 2BU

October Branch Meeting: Surviving in a Falling Market

23rd October, 2014

Camden Council launches revamped Chalton Street market.

photo © Philip Wolmuth

6.00pm Tuesday 28 October Headland House, 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP


Freelancers working in today’s market are faced with many difficulties – editors cut rates, cheap ‘all-you-can-eat’ subscriptions from agencies and reporters being forced to take up image making with smart phones, – the future for photographers has never been so uncertain.  
With this in mind the London Photographers Branch this month asks the question  - which tools do we need to challenge and survive in a depreciating market?The meeting will take the form of a facilitated discussion with an open floor, during we shall identify key issues facing us as image makers. The meeting will then break down into smaller working groups, each to consider and develop possible solutions and actions the Branch should take.


September Branch Meeting: Optimising Digital Workflow

23rd September, 2014


This month’s branch meeting will focus on digital workflow. Our resident geek Matthew Aslett will give an illustrated demonstration of how to get those images out quickly, and how to use social media platforms to reach the widest possible audience.

We will also be discussing the forthcoming election of The Journalist magazine editor.

We are still in urgent need of a branch secretary. If you might consider standing, either on your own, or as a job-share, please contact a committee member (contact info on the Committee page of the website) or just come along to Tuesday’s meeting.

6.00pm Tuesday 30 September Headland House, 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP


NATO Summit, Newport, Wales

3rd September, 2014

The NUJ has issued advice to members covering this week’s NATO summit in Newport.

Guidance for NUJ members and members of IFJ and EFJ affiliated trade unions when dealing with police or private security personnel.

  • Immediately confirm you are working as a journalist. Show your press card and show that it can be verified by your personal identification number.
  • ACPO [Association of Chief Police Officers] media guidelines confirm the police have no legal power or moral responsibility to prevent or restrict what journalists record.
  • Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) the police have no power to seize journalistic material without a court order.
  • Private security personnel on public property generally have no additional rights other than that of an ordinary citizen .
  • You can be asked to leave whilst photographing or reporting on private property; you could be arrested and charged with trespass if you refuse.

Do NOT physically resist.

If you are involved in an incident:

  • Try to film or record the conversation so that there is a record.
  • Get witness names and contact details, also badge numbers of police officers.

Police Powers
Stop and Search – Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act 1984. You don’t have to give your details but it is best to cooperate. Show your press card and be prepared to have your card verified by its personal identification number. Under this Act, the police must:

  • Provide their ID, name and police station.
  • Tell you the object of proposed search.
  • Provide a search record (important in case of any later legal action).
  • Call Police Press Bureau number to help resolve local issues 0207 230 2171 (24h)
  • Call NUJ emergency number below

If Arrested
You will be taken to a police station. Police are not entitled to seize journalistic material without a court order from a judge.

  • Make sure the custody record logs your journalistic material (kit/phone/memory cards etc), protected under PACE as ʻSpecial Procedure Materialʼ. Make a note of the seal numbers on the evidence bags, ensure they are listed on the custody record.
  • You have the right to inform someone of your arrest. Police must ensure this happens swiftly

FOR  NUJ  EMERGENCY  LEGAL  ADVICE call mobile  800  587  7530 or 07967 730038 or
landline 0800 587 7530

A police press office has been set up to deal with inquiries during the NATO summit. Lens-based journalists who have difficulty gaining access to areas that are not restricted can call one of these numbers for assistance:  01633 645 761/767/777. The office will be staffed 24 hours per day from today until 11pm on Saturday, September 6.

To file and report or for further legal advice please contact NUJ legal  department on  or call 0207 843 3704 or 07921 700 352

General and media information about the summit.

For further information about the NUJ see  

James Foley

21st August, 2014

Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of James Foley whose murder at the hands of extremists in Syria has shocked the world. There is little doubt that this crime has been deliberately staged to attract the maximum amount of fear and outrage and we do not wish to placate his killers by overstating the obvious. His life, work and beliefs have been eloquently summed up by his family whom have demonstrated immense courage throughout this ordeal which began nearly two years ago.


We urge all those considering commissions in conflict zones to consider the risks associated with such work and pay careful attention to the advice given by organisations such as the IFJ and NUJ. There are presently over 20 foreigners believed to be kidnapped in Syria alone. A further 60 journalists (most of them local) have been killed since that conflict started.


Statement by the IFJ here.
NUJ Logo

Unless otherwise stated all content is © London Photographers' Branch 2015.